The CrossFit Open and Masters Athlete Weights
A few thoughts in regards to Masters Rx weights in the CrossFit Open:
As age sets in, the question of "could vs. should" comes with it.
Could a 54-year-old athlete use the same weights as a 23-year-old? Perhaps. But should a 54-year-old use the same weights as a 23-year-old? If we're here for long term health, I would suggest the answer is "Probably not".
Let's drill into the Rx weight selection for the 45-54 and 60+ Masters athletes.
CrossFit has acknowledged that it is a good idea to reduce the Open Masters weights at age 55. Dumbbells in the CrossFit Open Masters age groups 55 and above drop from 50 lbs. down to 35 lbs. pounds for men. They reduce from 35 lbs. to 20 lbs. for women.
That's a big dip. I agree fully that it's a smart idea which will protect athletes. What if we expand that good theory to more age groups?
The male dumbbell weights are 50 lbs. for ages 18-54 and 35 lbs. for 55+. What if we adjusted 5 lbs. per age group, starting at 45-49 and then did so again at 65+?
See the chart for suggestions which could be applied to Open movements (highlighted cells show proposed changes):
Most recreational athletes desire to complete the Open workouts as an Rx athlete whenever possible. People want to put to test the movements which they have worked on throughout the year. However, Rx weights are often the blocker. I believe many more participants will be able to compete in the Open at the Rx level, getting to show off their wall walks, double unders, toes to bar, pull-ups and so on, compelling further participation.
These new Rx weight standards could also be used throughout the year for the Masters athletes and help sustain health and recovery. I know a lot of ten year+ athletes that are pretty broken down. Higher weights put Masters athletes at an increased risk of injury. We're in this for a lifetime and need to be thoughtful as to what is right for our bodies, while also acknowledging the continuous desire that many Masters Athletes have to compete.
I believe that implementing this change across all weighted movements as the new standards for Rx is not only doable, but necessary, for the Open and for life. There will always be the elite Masters athletes who can go heavy. These athletes will come through to the Semifinals and Quarterfinals just fine. Once there, more complex movements and higher weights can be tested. The cream always rises and the fittest athletes will still be crowned.
For the rest of us, lumping together athletes from ages 23-54 and waiting to drop the weight by 15 lbs. until 55 doesn’t seem to be the best option. Please consider this change to help Masters Athletes train, compete and thrive as best as we can.